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Average Time with Radio Declines 2% – But So What?

The average time spent per day with radio has declined by 2% from 2009 to 2010.

Meanwhile time spent with mobile is up almost 30% and Internet time is up more than 6%.

That’s one highlight of a new report by eMarketer, which summarizes…

a meta-analysis of data from dozens of research firms using a variety of methodologies. The result is a series of estimates of how much time consumers spend with all major media, regardless of multitasking or simultaneous usage, from 2008 to 2010. The estimates apply to average media usage of the general public, not solely to the users of each medium.

That kind of sourcing makes the veracity of the research claims all but impossible to verify, of course.

TV and video time spent is down more than 1% during that twelve month period.  The big losers, however, are newspapers and magazines, off more than 9%.

On the whole, it seems to me that the erosion for radio and TV are well within the statistical bounds of “unchanged,” so eMarketer’s conclusion:

Those trends have been most apparent with print media in recent years, but are now beginning to show up in TV and radio usage as well.

Well, that’s a bit exaggerated, frankly, based on their own data.

Worst of all, the spin on these results masks the larger truth:  That the growth in time spent with mobile and Internet are part of radio’s potential growth as well.

Any analysis that doesn’t acknowledge this simple but important fact should be discounted on its face.

The sad fact, however, is that this is the meme that will spread through the trades and the blogs, unaltered by good sense or a broader definition of what used to be called “radio.”

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